Thursday, June 07, 2012

Fahrenheit 451

It is with deep sadness that I report the death of Mr. Ray Bradbury, 91, yesterday. An obituary is post at the LA Times web site.

I have always felt it to be cliche that the most influential book I have ever read was Fahrenheit 451, but it was. In a sophomore English class in 1980, under the tutelage of Mrs. Mary Smith, we studied this book. To say that it affected me profoundly is an understatement. To this day, I do not like to have the television on as background noise, and am uncomfortable with screens invading my life in general. When I think about dystopias, it seems to me that a society that limits what its people can read would be the worst possible kind.

Luckily, I got to share this with Mr. Bradbury several years ago when I sent him the filled up circulation card for my library's copy of this title. He wrote back, and I treasure his letter. He was a brilliant writer, a visionary, and a creative force whose passing will leave the world a less imaginative place.

Rule, Leslie. Kill Me Again.
1996, reissued by Andrews McMeel 3 April 2012

Alex and her younger sister True move to a small town in Washington state to live with her grandparents after her mother loses her job. Even though Alex was only there one time when she was a year old, she suffers from constant deja vu. Not only that, but she looks exactly like her aunt Nan, who ran away to marry her boyfriend after a fight with her father. When Alex finds out that on her last visit, she found the body of Judy Fitzwater drowned in a pond, she starts having even more memories-- but from the point of view of the girl who drowned. When she discovers new classmate of hers, Tawney, also drowned, Alex starts to question what happened to her aunt. Alex has always been afraid of the water, but starts to scuba dive with Josh, whom she likes. Part of the town had been flooded, and looking over the old movie theater and other remains is a popular pastime. As more and more of the past starts coming back to Alex, she is sure that Nan met a horrible end... and that whoever killed her is linked to the other deaths and may be around to cause more.
Strengths: This was a good murder mystery in the style of Richie Tankersley Cusick, Christopher Pike, or R.L. Stine. It would be popular in my library, and not overly gory or too old.
Weaknesses: *Sigh* I feel duped by NetGalley. This does not appear to be available in print format, only as a Nook book. I should have known that this was an older title when Alex walked into her TYPING class in high school. It did have an older feel to it, but if I could get a copy, I would. Drat.

Beaudoin, Sean. The Infects.
25 September 2012, Candlewick

From the Publisher: "Seventeen-year-old Nero is stuck in the wilderness with a bunch of other juvenile delinquents on an "Inward Trek." As if that weren’t bad enough, his counselors have turned into flesh-eating maniacs overnight and are now chowing down on his fellow miscreants. As in any classic monster flick worth its salted popcorn, plentiful carnage sends survivors rabbiting into the woods while the mindless horde of "infects" shambles, moans, and drools behind. Of course, these kids have seen zombie movies. They generate "Zombie Rules" almost as quickly as cheeky remarks, but attitude alone can’t keep the biters back. Serving up a cast of irreverent, slightly twisted characters, an unexpected villain, and an ending you won’t see coming, here is a savvy tale that that’s a delight to read — whether you’re a rabid zombie fan or freshly bitten — and an incisive commentary on the evil that lurks within each of us."

There is still time to read this on I'm still trying to decide on whether it's middle school appropriate or not. There's no doubt that Beaudoin is a brilliant writer, but he walks that fine line. Major points for use of language: "fuct", "texturbation" are both edgy but not quite as naughty as they could be. Still-- too naughty for middle school, I am thinking, when combined with a very large amount of graphic chicken slaughtering, even before we got to the actual zombie parts. Oh, and more extra points for a beginning that definitely dragged me right in, even though the scenes of destruction ended up being a video game instead of the main zombie story. Also, points for depicting a teen boy in difficult family circumstances without being sniffly and sentimental. Sigh. I just wish that Beaudoin wrote more book like Going Nowhere Faster. Definitely take a look at this for high school libraries. Fantastic cover!

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